Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 10:38 UK

Deaths of children being reviewed

The scene of a fatal crash in the Cotswolds
Unexpected deaths include those resulting from road accidents

The circumstances surrounding the unexpected deaths of 40 Gloucestershire children last year are to be examined.

The county's Safeguarding Children Board said the review comes after new government guidelines were published.

The nature of how the youngsters died were not revealed, but unexpected deaths range from fatal road accidents to deaths from life-limiting illnesses.

The board said it hoped lessons would be learned from the information to help safeguard children in future.

Sensitive approach

Sue Butcher, who chairs the group setting up the child death reviews, said: "Each unexpected death of a child is a tragedy for the family and reviews will take that into account.

"We will make sure we have a balance between forensic and medical requirements and the family's need for support."

Enquiries would look at trying to understand the reasons for a child's death, as well as addressing the possible needs of siblings and other family members.

Councillor Paul McLain, said: "To lose 40 to unexpected deaths last year was an absolute tragedy, not just for their family and friends, but for the county as a whole.

"Information gleaned from the loss of one young life either now, or, heaven help us, in the future, is critical in the fight to save others from a similar fate."

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